I rowed in college. At 5’9" I’m short for a heavyweight.
It took everything I had to weigh in at 160 (read: come down to 160) so I could row lightweights-- stroke at that. 2 years of those, I was vegan-- that’s not “vegetarian” that eats fish, eggs, and dairy (I never understood that), but vegan.
I wasted those two years of strength gains. When I started putting real meat/protein into my diet, I found that it didn’t take any more effort to make weight, and my strength and speed increased. When I went above weight, my single/double speed increased as well-- ie. as weight went up, so did my performance.
You should know as a rower that power output rules. You have a LOT of room to gain weight and make strength gains that will more than adequately make up for any weight you put on.
What college are you rowing for? I’m surprised that your coach wouldn’t be having you on a strength/endurance regimen. Don’t your competitions require ‘boat average weight’ as well? You should be able to gain weight so long as the average isn’t too high…
Or, are you the cox?
re: “Silent Highway Man”… That guy KILLS the competition…